Insider’s Guide to the Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest 

You probably can’t tell it by the temperature, but fall is calling, and so are brats, bier and a whole lot of art. 

It’s time for the Dayton Art Institute’s annual Oktoberfest and events surrounding it. 

>> Where to park at Oktoberfest

>> What to eat at Oktoberfest | What to drink at Oktoberfest

>> MORE: Your guide to fall festivals around Dayton

The celebration is set for Sept. 21-23 on the grounds of the museum, located at 456 Belmonte Park N. in Dayton. 

As one of the Dayton-area’s biggest festivals (it’s been going on since 1972) it can be a little intimidating, so whether it’s your first time or you’re looking to make the most of it, here’s your insider’s guide:

>> This Dayton institution has quietly raised $14 million under our noses


Delicious German-inspired dishes from the Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Photo: Contributing Writer

The fun kicks off with a Lederhosen Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Admission to the community-style lunch is free. 

Brats, metts and tenderloins will be $5, and potato salad and the homemade noodles are $3 (or you combo it with a dessert or Mike Sell’s potato chips for $10).

The beer and wine is $5. The beer list includes Miller Lite, Terrapin High 5 IPA, Blue Moon, Crispin Original Apple Cider, Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Harvest Shandy, and Warsteiner’s Dunkel, Oktoberfest, Koenig Ludwig Hefeweiss, and Pilsner beers. Wines are Michelle Sparkling Brut, Dr. L Riesling, Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Save Me San Francisco Cabernet Sauvignon, and Deloach Pinot Noir.

The preview party will also feature these beverages (more below). Lederhosen is certainly welcome, it is not mandatory or even expected.


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Oktoberfest Preview Party starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. 

It includes complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks. There will be more than 60 artisan exhibitors and 30 food vendors.

There will be a cash bar for international beer and premium wine, and also LIVE music by Swagg.

>> 50 ideas for your Dayton bucket list

Advance tickets for the Preview Party are $55 for members and $75 for non-members. Admission at the gate is $95. Advance tickets may be purchased online at, at the museum’s Guest Services Desk during regular hours, or by calling 937-223-4ART (4278). Guests must be 21 with a valid ID to attend the Preview Party.


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Oktoberfest is noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 and from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23.

>> Get lost in a-MAZE-ing fall fun this year

It includes artisan booths, plenty of food, kid-friendly activities, music on two stages and lots and lots of international, domestic and craft beer (and wine, too).

Football will be played on four big-screen TVs in the so-called “TV Cave.” The ACCO Brands FamilyFest returns on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, noon– 4:30 p.m. each day, with special activities for all ages in the museum and on the grounds near the museum entrance. Anyone visiting the museum on Saturday or Sunday must pay the Oktoberfest admission.

Advance admission is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors, 60+ and children ages 7 to 18. Admission at the gate is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and youth. Children ages 6 and younger are free. 

There will be a full live music lineup and art-related activities for children. 

>> PHOTOS: 20 images that prove the Renaissance Festival is one of Ohio’s most amazing events

You can purchase advance tickets at the following locations or online:
Arrow Wine, Oakwood & Centerville

Dorothy Lane Market, all locations

The Dayton Beer Company

Ghostlight Coffee, South Park

Jerardi’s Little Store, Vandalia

Yellow Springs Hardware, Yellow Springs


Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest got under way Friday, Sept. 25, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 27. The event features more than 40 different beers, including international and local craft. Food ranges from brats and mets to pork chops to pretzels, baklava and kettle corn. Artisans offer jewelry, clothing, artwork and unique gifts for sale. Dayton’s largest festival, Oktoberfest helps the museum continue to offer cultural enrichment and community outreach.

According to DAI organizers, the food options remain fairly consistent from year to year. What you’ll see this year include: Associate Board Alumni Brats & Metts, Basil’s on Market, Bavarian Roasted Nuts, Black Jack Grill/Pretzel Hut, Bourbon Street, Brock Masterson’s Catering, Cosmic Kettle Corn, DK Diner, Dublin Pub, Eintracht Singing Society, Greek Orthodox Church, Hamburger Wagon, Hey Hey Bar & Grill, Kona Ice, RKP Vending, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Snack Wagon, Strudel Factory, & Zombie Dogz 

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute Art Ball 2017


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

There will be six beer trucks on site selling craft brews, pilsners, Oktoberfest brews and more. A few notable options on the list include Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Great Lakes Nosferatu, Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood, Schoferhoffer Grapefruit and Crispin Honey Crisp — and that’s just a few of the numerous options. There will also be three wine locations offering everything from Prophecy Sauvignon Blanc to Raeburn to Pinot Noir.

>>MORE: PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest 2017


The new official mug of the Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest, which typically sells 1,000 each year, comes in 16 and 21-ounce varieties and is made by Bubba Jones Cups. Cups and growlers will be available, too. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

Every year, the DAI offers an “official mug of Oktoberfest.” According to Chris Schairbaum, DAI Oktobefest Co-Chair, they typically sell over 1,000 of these each year. There will be 16-ounce and 32-ounce mugs available, along with a few ceramic growlers. A mug purchase comes with a free beer ticket.

There are more than 60 artisans from all over the country who will be set up at the event selling their merchandise. 

>>Oktoberfest: 15 early images of the Dayton Art Institute tradition


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Dayton Art Institute offers some tips and advice for navigating Oktoberfest.

On Friday, September 21, parking will only be available on the museum’s front drive and on the surrounding neighborhood streets; very limited handicapped accessible parking will be available at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. 

During the Lederhosen Lunch on Sept. 21, RTA will provide free shuttles from downtown Dayton to The DAI from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. RTA shuttle riders may board and exit shuttles at any stop along the route that runs from the Oregon District, west along Fifth Street, north on Main Street, Second Street, Wilkinson Street and Monument Avenue to the Lederhosen Lunch. Patrons needing special assistance or access during this time may call the museum’s Guest Services Desk, at 937-223-4ART (4278).

During the Oktoberfest Preview Party, 7–11 p.m. on Friday, September 21, shuttle service will be offered from the University of Dayton parking lot behind the Marriott, just off Patterson Boulevard. 

>>MORE: JUST IN: Asian restaurant in Kettering closes after 10 years, will relocate


The easiest way of getting to and from the museum during Oktoberfest is by using the free shuttle services. Look for the Oktoberfest signs and park for free at the University of Dayton lot behind the Marriott, just off Patterson Boulevard, and take free shuttles directly to and from Oktoberfest. On Saturday and Sunday, you may also park downtown and take a free RTA Oktoberfest shuttle, with stops along Wilkinson, Monument, Main Street, Second Street and Fifth Street in the Oregon District. Free RTA shuttles will also be available during the Lederhosen Lunch, according to an Oktoberfest press release.